The Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, has created Instant Charge, a durable and portable outdoor mobile charger that can charge 66 devices simultaneously. The equipment was developed to support the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) work on the shores of Europe where, despite good mobile coverage, there has been limited infrastructure in camps for refugees to charge their phones. Tens of thousands of refugees will benefit from Instant Charge in a number of locations, including Lesbos and Samos islands in Greece, where it is provided with free WiFi. The equipment, which will also be used to support the Vodafone Foundation’s disaster relief work, will be shown this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Vodafone Foundation will also demonstrate Instant Classroom Lite. Instant Classroom Lite builds on the Vodafone Foundation’s Instant Classroom ‘digital school in a box’ kit, launched at Mobile World Congress in 2015. Working with UNHCR, Instant Classroom Lite has been designed for teaching large classes in refugee camps in Africa. It consists of a laptop, which acts as the server, a projector, a sound system and it has 3G and 4G internet connectivity. It is less than half of the weight of the original Instant Classroom equipment, which is a 52kg suitcase containing 25 tablets, as well as a 3G modem, laptop and projector. Instant Classroom Lite can be easily stored and transported between schools in refugee settlements, such as Dadaab in Kenya, and it is deployable in just 10 minutes.

Vodafone Foundation Instant Charge

Vodafone Foundation Instant Charge is a portable box weighing around 23kg which, combined with a generator or another power source, such as solar power, can charge up to 66 phones simultaneously. Instant Charge has been built in four modules, as this prevents overcrowding in emergency environments. It has also been designed to be used outdoors (the kit is water resistant) and it can be set up in under 10 minutes. Instant Charge includes 60 USB charging ports and 70cm cables, so users do not require chargers or cables to recharge their mobile devices. There is also an extension cable, capable of charging a further six devices. Instant Charge could be used alongside the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network kit, a portable mobile network that has been deployed in countries across the world following natural disasters, from Kenya to the Philippines.

Oisin Walton, Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Programme Manager, said: “When the Vodafone Foundation, alongside UNHCR, assessed how it could help, one of the requests from refugees was: ‘Where can I charge my mobile?’ Unlike refugees in many other parts of the world, many of the refugee families arriving in Europe have smartphones, rather than feature phones, and there is an increasing need for access to power. Instant Charge was developed in response to that need”.

Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom Lite

Designed for teaching lessons to large class sizes in refugee camps in Africa, Instant Classroom Lite can be used to run interactive classes in schools without power or internet access and includes a server with mobile educational content that teachers can access locally. The Instant Classroom Lite kit is supplied in a robust case and has a projector and audio system, 3G and 4G connectivity and a laptop server preloaded with educational content. It can be powered using a solar panel, a mains socket or a 12V car socket and stays powered for four hours of use. The equipment can be set up in just 10 minutes and can be easily transported between schools in a refugee settlement.

Director of the Vodafone Foundation Andrew Dunnett, said: “Both Instant Charge  and Instant Classroom Lite are durable and powerful yet simple. The first supports an immediate need, enabling people to contact their loved ones, while Instant Classroom Lite builds on our Instant Network Schools programme, which has already provided an internet education to around 60,000 young refugees living in Dadaab in Kenya.”

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